|From Eva Bell Photography|
**Giveaway is now closed**
Lucy Robinson grew up in England, where she initially decided to be an actor, until she arrived at University and realized that she was somewhat lacking in talent. She took it in stride, and turned her attention to working first in theatre production and then on documentaries. As her career escalated, her love life did exactly the opposite. Rather than take this in stride as well, she chose to begin blogging about the ridiculousness that was her love life in 2009. Everything blew up from there. People adored her blog so much that she found herself being advised to write a novel, and then offered a publishing deal! After finishing her first novel ("The Greatest Love Story of All Time") while living in Buenos Aires, she wrote another while travelling around South America (no title as yet, TBP Jan 2013). We can’t wait to see what she comes up with next!!!
Thanks to Penguin UK, we have THREE copies of "The Greatest Love Story of All Time" to share with some lucky readers ANYWHERE IN THE WORLD!
You can find Lucy at her aforementioned blog, as well as on Facebook and Twitter.
What do you do when you’re not writing?
Too much! While editing my second novel and starting my third I’m working on two TV documentaries; one for the BBC and one project of my own. I play in an orchestra once a week, I’m getting back into exercise after two years of travelling (somewhat challenging, that bit . . .) and I’m also involved in a mentoring scheme. Oh and my boyfriend and I are in the middle of a ghastly DIY project that is taking months! Oh dear. I would have preferred it if my answer included words like ‘massage’ and ‘weekend minibreaks’ and ‘cooking for friends’ and other such aspirational activities. One day, maybe . . .
Which authors have inspired you?
Actually I’d never really read any chicklit before I wrote "The Greatest Love Story of All Time." It was a totally personal attempt and all things considered I’m very lucky it worked. Now though I try to read chicklit as often as possible as I have a lot to learn from my contemporaries. I think Marian Keyes is queen of the genre for a very good reason – she’s streets ahead. So engaging, warm and funny; her characters are so simply but brilliantly drawn. I also recently discovered Lucy-Ann Holmes who I find absolutely hilarious – her language is as atrocious as mine. Nice to have a bit of solidarity there.
What did you do to celebrate when first published?
Unfortunately, due to being far too busy, I’ve been unable to find time to organise the fabulous Sex and The City-style launch party that I wanted (I was going to throw a big, glamorous Gin Thursday) but hopefully things will calm down in the summer and I can attempt it then. My celebrations when I got the book deal were also a bit low-key for my liking – I was in the middle of moving to Argentina and once again, I didn’t have time to celebrate. When I got the call from my agent I was sitting in a field with my horse, saying goodbye to her. So I gave her a hug and some carrots and then she wandered off: that was it. Not very glamorous.
How do you approach your writing? Do you plot or go with the flow?
I’d say a mixture of both. My third novel has probably been more heavily-planned than the other two but that’s because it’s more ambitious in scope. Being a control freak I feel a lot safer if I’ve got a clear plan mapped out but I’m learning that it really doesn’t work like that. As the characters come to life, they start telling the story themselves. So as often as not I’ll literally watch my hands typing things; starting big new plot twists apparently without consulting me. Those sorts of developments are the best, in my experience. Totally spontaneous and straight from the characters’ mouth.
Can you tell us what the most difficult scene to write in "The Greatest Love Story of All Time" was, and how you got through it?
The first scene was the hardest by a long shot - it was awful! I’d been roughly planning the storyline in my head for a few weeks and had eventually decided to start writing one Sunday evening just before Christmas. I went off to bed with my laptop (I do a lot of writing in bed) and was all fired up and ready to go and then...nothing. Panic! After about an hour of paralysis I went back to the sitting room where my housemate Kieran was watching TV. “I can’t write this novel,” I cried. He made me tea and fed me biscuits and sent me back to my room looking slightly afraid. After another agonising hour I decided to start writing about the main character and as soon as I wrote down the name ‘Fran’ I was away. I wrote pages about her and her life and what goes on in her head. Once I had that, it was easy. That’s how I’ve started both the second and third novels too. Character first, story second.
If "The Greatest Love Story of All Time" were made into a movie, who would you cast in the lead roles?
I made a trailer for the book recently so I had to cast actors to play Leonie, Stefania and Dave which was quite odd – I felt very protective over those three and was quite sure I’d never find anyone who felt right. (Fortunately, I was wrong! You can watch the trailer here) But my fantasy famous cast… Well, for Dave, it’s easy. I was watching Hotel Rwanda a few months ago and suddenly in wandered Joaquin Phoenix with a mop of unruly hair and piercing blue eyes with a fag (cigarette) in one hand and a news camera in the other. Good looking but in an unusual, rugged way. He was wearing an old T-shirt and had scruffy trainers on and I nearly passed out with excitement. I sent my friend a crazed message about having found Dave and she thought I was having an affair or something. But for the others characters, I really, honestly don’t know. I’m hoping your readers might make some suggestions!
What is your favourite birthday memory?
2011, my 31st, was pretty good. I was in the middle of travelling up the Argentinian Andes but when I got to Bariloche I took an overnight bus back to Buenos Aires to go and spend my birthday with the friends I’d made while living there. My friends made me late breakfast, then I had a skype with The Man who had locked himself into a meeting room at work and was having champagne and cake on my behalf. He paid for my friends and I to go for lovely lunch at Helena, my favourite café, and then we went vintage shopping. That night I had a big Asado (BBQ) and, after eating several tonnes of the world’s best steak, we went dancing until 4am which I thought was quite impressive given my advanced years. It was odd not to be at home but as foreign birthdays go it was about as lovely a day as I could have imagined.
What TV show, book, or movie reminds you most of your own life?
Writing a book has made me realise that most books/films/tv shows involve a heightened version of reality which (thank goodness) bears little relation to real life. I always wanted my life to resemble something I'd seen in a film and used to feel like I was getting it wrong, somehow, when it wasn’t all drama and madness and ecstasy. I remember when I met my boyfriend, The Man, panicking on the phone to a friend about the fact that I wasn’t having a heart attack or spontaneously breaking into poetic verse/song/dance – but as she pointed out, healthy relationships (and normal life) just aren’t like that! They’re slow, gentle and, however lovely they might be, they’re imperfect. So nowadays I’m quite happy not to resemble a story line from Friends or "Bridget Jones's Diary."
If you could take us on a tour of your town, where would we go first?
We'd start at The Breakfast Club in Camden Passage, Islington, London. It is a tiny little place that wins the Lucy Robinson prize for best breakfast AND best tunes in London. I'd treat you to an outrageously good plate of egg-related deliciousness and then we'd mince around Camden Passage looking at antiques and old books and posh food in gorgeous little cafes. We'd probably buy some vintage clothing and then - if I'm being realistic - we'd go back to the Breakfast Club for lunch.
Funniest thing that happened to you recently?
I was on a bus a few days ago and a couple of yoofs (sic) got on and sat behind me. They commenced bitching about a girl from their school who, it seemed clear, they didn't like. Then one of them came out with "Man, she is MOIST. She is MOISTER THAN WATER." Grammar aside, I was doubled over with laughter by the sheer absurdity of this expression. But I of course got straight on my iPhone, like the old Granny that I am, and consulted the Urban Dictionary. It turns out that being moist involves being uninformed and generally idiotic/embarrassing. Wow. I'm not sure I'll be taking that one into my next novel.
Special thanks to Lucy for visiting with us and making us laugh and to Penguin UK for sharing Lucy's book with our readers.
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Giveaway ends April 24th at midnight EST.